Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.



A Fresh Look

This spring Lake Louise gets a fresh coat of turquoise paint, first since 1915.

What's in a Name - Mitchell Range

Mitchell Range after sunset. Photo by Larry Halverson

The Mitchell Range in the Kootenay Valley forms the eastern boundary of Kootenay National Park. It is made up of 8 mountains and stretches from the Simpson River to the Cross River. Read more »

Eagle Eye

Bald Eagles have begun nesting in the Columbia Valley Photo by Larry Halverson

From Wikipedia
“The eagle eye is among the strongest in the animal kingdom, with an eyesight estimated at 4 to 8 times stronger than that of the average human. Read more »

Wolf Tracks

Wolves spend 8 -10 hours/day on the move and can travel great distances.
Photo by Larry Halverson

Wolf tracks, like those of all canids, show four toes on each foot with claw marks present. The tracks of a wolf and large a dog are indistinguishable, even to a trained wolf biologist. Read more »

Great To See

A pack of 5 wolves in the Kootenay Valley - Photo by Larry Halverson

At one time Grey Wolves ranged over the entire northern hemisphere, but over the years they were essentially eradicated from the landscape, even in the National Parks. By the late 1940s there were no wolves in Kootenay National Park, however they later recolonized the mountain Parks and are now once again part of the natural biota. Read more »

Deer from the Rear

The upper side of the White-tailed Deer’s tail is usually the same colour as their body or
in some individuals like this one a darker brown.
- Photo by Larry Halverson

It is not obvious how White-tailed Deer got it’s name until you see them flee. As they run, their tails flip up and flares out, revealing an obvious white flag. It is thought they do this “fagging” to help young fawns follow their moms, startle predators or warn other deer. Read more »

Common Raven


Common Raven looking rather cold with it's down all puffed up. - by Larry Halverson

The Common Raven is one of the most common birds seen when driving through Kootenay National Park. Read more »

House Finches are Singing

Male House Finch can start nest building in early March - photo by Larry Halverson

The songs of House Finches were not always heard in the Columbia Valley. In fact they were unknown in the province until 1935, when a pair of House Finches were reported nesting in Penticton. By 1937 they had also arrived on the coast and were observed nesting in Victoria. From these 2 small pioneering populations the House Finch launched its rapid range expansion into British Columbia. By 1970 it had moved east into the Southern Interior Mountains and was recorded near Cranbrook. House Finches first appeared on the Lake Windermere Christmas Bird Count in 1994 and now are common sightings at local bird feeders. Read more »

Coyotes Make a Living with their Nose.

Coyote sniffing for food by Alan Dibb 

Coyotes have keen senses of hearing, sight, and smell. But it seems they use their sense of smell the most for finding food and avoiding dangerous predators. Read more »

Ian McTaggart-Cowan: The Legacy of a Pioneering Biologist, Educator and Conservationist

Illustrated with a few photos from Kootenay National Park including a Wolf chasing a butterfly by Alan Dibb

This book traces the early history of biological exploration and discovery in British Columbia and Canada’s Rocky Mountain
national parks. One man, Ian McTaggart-Cowan, was at the centre of that history as an explorer, educator, advocate of wildlife and wilderness values and pioneer conservationist. Read more »

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